Agricultural Research Service scientists studying intestinal bacteria have found that treating pigs with beneficial microorganisms can boost the animals' intestinal health.
Researchers fed a probiotic strain to pregnant sows and half of each sow's litters, finding that the probiotic induced innate immune activity in the colon.
Probiotics are living microorganisms that can be added to foods or dietary supplements to benefit its consumer. These friendly bacteria help to keep down numbers of illness-causing bacteria.
In another ARS study, researchers treated pigs with the same probiotic (the common Bb 12 strain) before exposing the pigs to a worm infection. In preliminary results, the pigs that received the treatment show a better response and improved nutrient absorption than the ones that did not receive probiotic treatment.